V. Doctrinal strategy concerning pneumatology
(CRC's view of the Holy Spirit)

CRC believes that only an incarnational (i.e. both non-arian and non-apollonarian) pneumatology can come to a truly apostolic understanding and full appreciation of the glorious mystery of the co-working of the Christian and the Holy Spirit. CRC believes that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in the book of Acts are still active and are to be sought by every believer. Abuse of Holy-Spirit-related doctrine has moved the church into basically two heretical extremes that operate within the arian respectively the apollonarian paradigms.
 
I. According to the apollonarian (Gnostic) mentality the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force that belongs to a God who is only God, and not God AND man (Jesus). All spiritual activity (exercising of the gifts imparted by the Holy Spirit) is perceived as making one the more non-human the more one thrives in it. The more bizarre, unnatural and arrogant one becomes, the more others have to stand in awe of the "Holy Spirit's power". Many charismatics have come to see this problem and have explained it as a sign of immaturity or of absence of love. The latter explanation of ungodly "spiritual" behavior,  namely absence of love, comes close to CRC's analyzing the problem, since true love is doctrinally bound up with that loving God who becomes man. True love can only become cultivated in a human being when that human being is identifying himself with the life and death of Christ, becoming one with Christ. Identification with the Incarnate God (Jesus) is the biblical human counterpart of the incarnation. Out of a dying and resurrecting with Christ grows the power of the resurrection accompanied by visible signs of the Holy Spirit. Christ becomes man and thereby invinces sin and death and makes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit possible. The Christian believer in turn dies with Christ and thereby becomes a partaker of divine love and supernatural spiritual endowments.
 
The apollonarianist also misuses the Holy Spirit in order to bring critical thinking people under the yoke of irreflective subjection (namely to him or his group). The Holy Spirit is seen as a part of that Muslim-like concept of God that is characteristic for the apollonarian mentality. Critical objections raised by concerned Christians are quieted with remarks such as "can't you FEEL that this or that is from the Holy Spirit?". The Holy Spirit has to do everything for the apollonarian Christian. Instead of earnestly and humbly seeking for strategies for missions and church building through prayer and Bible study,  they are sovereignly zoomed to and fro by the Holy Spirit. Human thinking is seen as always opposed to the Spirit. Bible verses talking about walking in the Spirit, are misused in this respect. However, the Bible talks about WALKING in the Spirit, not about levitating in the Spirit. Walking is a genuine human activity. Incarnational walking in the Spirit consists in giving human genuineness its place within the will of God. The Holy Spirit does not destroy or lobotomize the human being, it FILLS it, that means, gives it what it needs in order to be truly HUMAN according to God's standards and not to the (Christian) world's standards.
 
The apollonarian, Colossian Christian becomes so wound up with the supernatural that he eventually looses sight of Christ's sovereign rule in both the unseen and the seen world. Christ is the One in whom all of creation is held together (Col. 1.15-20). But the Colossian, dualistic apollonarianist worries about making the right exercises in order to appease the spiritual world and indulges in a superstitious form of counselling-exorcism ("heavy shepherding") not based upon the Christian's identity in Christ. 
 
II. Bound up with the arian (agnostic) mentality are efforts to bring the Holy Spirit under the scrutinizing judgment seat of  human reason. Everything that is judged as "unnormal" is seen as the result of human hysteria or demonic interference. In line with the thought of arianism according to which Jesus was only seemingly God goes the arian quietist attitude according to which everything has to take place in a cultivated manner because what counts is what men talk, argue, scheme and agree about and upon (in democratic fashion). Afterwards a stamp is placed on that human activity which reads "By the way, the Holy Spirit was also there (seemingly)". None comes to the idea of humbly calling upon the Holy Spirit to interfere according to how He wishes to. Because, after all, the Holy Spirit has to be there, in a proforma-fashion, since everybody is declared Christian, so they are also declared (seeming) Holy Spirit partakers; so, in one way or another, the Holy Spirit has also to play a little undercover-role. While it is true, that the Holy Spirit often does work "undercover", in a quiet-voice-manner; this arian taking for granted the Holy Spirit's abiding comes close to atheist agnosticism where one does not pretend to know any supernatural presence or phenomena anyway.
 
According to arian thought the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 can in fact be produced by human strength. Then, in fact, these fruits of the Spirit become the new judaistic circumcision. The arian Christian does not say any more: " In order to be really holy, you have to become circumcised according to the Old Testament ceremonial law!", because this would be completely irrelevant to our day. Instead he goes on to say: "In order to be really holy,  you have to be (outwardly, seemingly) loving your brother with brotherly love" (and other fruits of the Spirit are then listed in this way). The apostle Paul was well aware that Galatians 5 could be used that way. This is why he wrote chapter 6 also, where no excuse is left for those who want to produce Spirit-gifts in a fleshly manner. Those who want to be accepted by other Christians (i.e. by the Christian world) urge others to undergo this new judaistic circumcision of compliance with human-bred "spiritual" standards, so that they can be free of the shame of the cross, i.e. of that which is really essential in Christianity. The arian, Galatian Christian really needs the Holy Spirit only once in his life: During his conversion. Then, after he has "begun in the Spirit", he is being led to "fulfill in the flesh" (Gal. 3,3).
 
The way out of these two unbiblical extremes is the understanding and application of the believer's identification in Christ (Gal. 2,20; Phil 3,10). Oneness in Christ's humiliating incarnation (i.e. giving oneself to others) also entails oneness in His glorious resurrection (miracles and divine power). Wanting to have one without the other causes one to come short of the doctrine of Christ.

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